Friday, October 01, 2010

Weekend (Not Actually a) Listomania: Special Classic Rot Edition

Sorry guys, I'm just totally jammed up with real-world writing assignments, so no Listomania this week. Again. God, I feel like such a slacker. Anyway, the Burton Cummings' "No Time" clue should make sense now.

Meanwhile, I chanced across this outtake from the 1964 Rolling Stones' EP Got Live If You Want It the other day, said EP being on my short list of greatest live recordings of anybody in the history of recorded music. An abbreviated, but to my ears not at all perfunctory, runthrough of Amos Milburn's "Down the Road Apiece."

And so I leave you with a question for the weekend:

The Rolling Stones -- truly the greatest rock band in the world, or just a bunch of overrated Boomer icons who stole everything they knew from a bunch of black people with far more talent.


[Shameless Blogwhore: My weekend Cinema Listomania -- theme: horror/fantasy/sci-fi film that either cries out for a modern remake or that you TOTALLY hope will never be remade -- is now up over at Box Office. Hey -- it pays the bills. In any case, if you could find a minute to head over there and leave a comment, I'd be eternally in your debt. Thanks.]


fmcg said...

Greatest rock band in the world.

Put on "Monkey Man," listen to it, and tell me (i) from which son of a Mississippi sharecropper you think they stole it, and (ii) whether you decided to listen to some more from "Let it Bleed."

steve simels said...

Somebody over at Eschaton the other day was carrying on about how Led Zep were talentless posers who did nothing but rip off blues guys.

And somebody responded "Yes, I much prefer Ledbelly's version of 'Kashmir.'"


Anonymous said...

The Stones were/are, without question, the suckiest live band in history.

Anonymous said...

but Zep is the biggest piece of crap band in history.

steve simels said...

Well, somebody obviously peed in Anon's fruit loops this morning.

TMink said...

Neither. They made some of the greatest rock in the world though. They had the ears and the open hearts to hear the blues and be moved by it. No theft there.

Besides, if you prosecuted musicians for theft there would be no jazz solos!


Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

"Loving Cup".

'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

obviously more talented than 95% of bands out there, but followers of fashion who sometimes did better than their influences. and ditto, a horrible live band.

TMink said...

Anon, I prefered their studio records too. Mainly because Jagger was better as a singer in the studio. Live, he is too busy doing whatever to sing well.


steve simels said...

Well, I think the song clip I posted suggests otherwise, Trey.

Gummo said...

a horrible live band.


*gasp sputter*


steve simels said...

Well, to be fair they could be.

For example, fan that I am, I'd rather have my eyes gouged out with a burnt stick than to watch the "Let's Spend the Night Together" Hal Ashby concert film, or listen to its soundtrack.

On the other hand, when the DVD of "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones" finally comes out next month, I'll be out of circulation for at least a week.

Wendy said...

They have been both one of the worst live bands and one of the best. I saw them in 1994 and was bored to tears. Saw them in 2002 and was blown away. When they're going through the motions, they suck. When they're enjoying themselves, they're great.

TMink said...

Steve, I cannot deny the greatness of the clip you posted. But I am with BG on this one. They are wildly variable as a live band. And I think it is Mick's performance that is the problem. I love Stripped, which is live but with no audience. Mick sings rather than prances. Not that there is anything wrong with his prancing per se, but when it gets in the way of the singing he leaves me behind.


steve simels said...

Trey --

I guess we're both mostly talking about the stadium shows since the 70s. Which I think often suck, and not just in terms of Mick.

Although at the height of the 60s Teen Scream, he was an absolutely brilliant singer live as that clip demonstrates.

NYMary said...

I like some of their stuff, but they were never essential for me in the way the Beatles were. But then, no one was.

Still, enough people I genuinely like and respect worship at their altar that I understand this to be a perversion of my own.

Noam Sane said...

I'm with Mary, don't find their records essential, closest is Ya Yas - I do own that.

I really like She's a Rainbow and Ruby Tuesday, the Jonesian psychedelia thing. Of course, the early stuff - up to Buttons - is hard to argue with. Just not something I go to that often.

Every album has a couple of gems, though - I thought Out of Tears from (album?) was a pretty great ballad.

Now they're cartoon characters, falling out of coconut trees and so forth.

TMink said...

Oh, I really do like their records a lot. I got most of the ABKO sacd releases and they are killer! Part of the fun was that I had not been much of a Stones fan growing up as I was in the Beatles camp. So I had all their stuff to enjoy and catch up on and it is really great music.

So from the beginning up through Emotional Rescue I think the Stones are killer. And who else has done that much good work? Not many.


Faze said...

If they'd been killed in a plane crash after "Between the Buttons", we'd cherish them today as a more sexy and racuous Kinks. If all they'd ever done was "Satanic Majesty", we'd think less of them than the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Yet they continually re-invented themselves, seeming to drag themselves out of the grave for a last tour de force, and then another, and another,until it all pooped out around "Goat's Head". And as with Dylan, no matter how much I listen to them, I never stop asking, "Who are these guys?"

pete said...

To say they're the greatest rock band ever IS to say they're derivative, because rock music has always been derivative.

That said, Jagger was the one who solved the White Singer Conundrum. How do you get past the callow, adenoidal sound of a white teenager to make music as authoritative as big, chesty Southern adults. The answer is: You don't. You don't have to, because a wormy-sounding English wimp was just as much an outsider in our culture as a nigger field hand, a term I use advisedly. Maybe more.

And the Stones' arrangement of Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain" remains the finest, most innovative and yet emotionally true reworking of a "classic" blues that I've ever heard.

And I've heard a lot.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently renting the TAMI show DVD, and I love the Stones performances on that. I especially love that look on Jagger's face that seems scared sh*tless, at the same time that he's licking his chops in anticipation of devouring the audience.


steve simels said...

Tom Wolfe famously described a1964Jagger performance with the Stones as "the voice of a bull Negro."

Which is not just wrong, but in retrospect a preview of the bizarre rightwing racial animus that came to full flower in "Bonfire of the Vanities."


Libby Spencer said...

Well I'm so old, the Stones were the soundtrack of my misspent youth. Back then, you had to declare for either the Beatles or the Stones and I chose the "bad boys" of rock. They made the Beatles look like choir boys. Wore out my vinyl albums of their early stuff. Still love all of them. Didn't see them live until the Steel Wheels tour. By then, I found the stage props more impressive than the music.

Don't know that I can give any one band the best rock band ever crown, but I do think they paved the way for edgier music in a way the Beatles didn't. Not sure a player like Jimi Hendrix would have broken through without their having broken the ground for it with their blues covers.

Wendy said...

Jagger was the first performer I can remember who really played the camera ... I felt like he was looking right at me.

And, to play the silly "which records would you take to a desert island" game: the first one that comes to mind is "Let It Bleed." How anyone could not love that one is beyond me ...

Finally, re. Libby's comment about paving the way for Hendrix, I think the Yardbirds could easily be the ones who deserve credit for that. Of course, whether or not the Stones paved the way for the Yardbirds is another question ... :-)

Libby Spencer said...

Ha BG. Yardbirds - Stones, classic chicken or egg Q. Frankly, think Yardbirds were probably the better band in terms of musicality, but didn't have quite the cachet of the Stones which IMO did rest largely on Mick's incredible stage presence.

Goose said...

The greatest rock 'n roll band in the world... I think. Sure they could be a bit sloppy playing live sometimes, but I like my rock 'n roll a bit sloppy, a bit on the edge... plus, they have one hell of a track record - Sticky Fingers, Exile, Aftermath, Let it Bleed, 12x5, Beggar's, Get Yer Ya Yas, etc.

They had the attitude! An attitude that is nowhere to be found in any music these days.

To FMCG (above) - I couldn't agree more!

P.S. The Beatles are my favorite band, but The Stones are the greatest rock 'n roll band.

John Fowler said...

I'm mostly not going to add anything interesting here, just agreement with:

Trey - neither greatest nor overrated;
BG on 'Let It Bleed', which to me makes the best case for 'greatest'. You get Keith on 'You Got the Silver', and then all the Mick questions seem less important;
and NYMary, in that I can't see the Stones as greater than the Beatles in any case.

Even if you rule out the Beatles as pop not rock, or perhaps based on their limited run (they never had a chance to decline), I would argue that the Who have just as good a claim to 'greatest rock band', especially at the time that the Stones were also at their peak (late 60's/early 70's). Of course, I suppose you might have to also compare the decline periods of the two groups - and there, the Stones may have an edge. But I'd rather look at the highlights...